Nutrition Market

Acerola Berries - A Superfruit Packed with Vitamin C

Acerola berries, also known as Barbados cherries, are a small, red, cherry-like fruit that pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition. Native to Central and South America, these tropical berries are now grown around the world, including here in Australia.

What Are Acerola Berries?

Acerola berries grow on a bushy shrub that can reach up to 6 metres tall. The berries themselves are small, averaging around 3 centimetres wide. Despite their petite size, acerola berries contain exceptionally high levels of vitamin C - in fact, they have one of the highest concentrations of natural vitamin C of any food!

The bright red berries have a sweet and sour cherry-like flavour when fully ripe. The edible skin encases a soft, juicy pulp and small seed.

Benefits of Acerola Berries

Acerola berries offer several science-backed health benefits:

Excellent Source of Vitamin C

The stand-out feature of acerola berries is their astronomical vitamin C content. Per 100 grams of fresh berries, they provide:

  • 1677–4500 mg of vitamin C

To put that into perspective, 100 grams provides over 2,000% of your recommended daily intake! This makes acerola berries one of the best natural sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function, collagen production, iron absorption, and brain health.

Antioxidants

In addition to vitamin C, acerola berries contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, quercetin, kaempferol and tannins. Together, these antioxidants help protect your cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

May Support Heart Health

Early research indicates the polyphenols in acerola berries may benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and decreasing arterial stiffness. More studies are underway to confirm these potential effects.

Bioactive Compounds

Acerola berries contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids, polyphenols and flavonoids. These compounds have been linked to anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer activity in preliminary studies.

How to Eat Acerola Berries

There are many ways to eat acerola berries to take advantage of their impressive nutrient content:

  • Raw - Enjoy them fresh just as you would cherries or berries. They have a sweet-tart cherry flavour.
  • Juice - Blend the berries into fruit smoothies, juices or as an ingredient in cocktails. Their bright red juice adds vibrant colour in addition to nutrients.
  • Dried - The berries retain their vitamin C potency remarkably well when dried or freeze dried. Dried berries make a great addition to homemade trail mixes.
  • Powder - Freeze dried berries are ground into a fine acerola berry powder that you can add to yogurt, oats, protein shakes, baked goods and more.
  • Preserves - Cook the berries into jams, chutneys, compotes and fruit preserves.
  • Supplements - Vitamin C and antioxidant supplements derived from acerola berries come in capsules, tablets, powders and gummies for an easy nutrition boost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are acerola berries used in vitamin C supplements?

Acerola berries are used in vitamin C supplements because they have one of the highest natural concentrations of vitamin C of any food in the world. The berries naturally biosynthesize very high levels of vitamin C internally. Supplements use acerola berry powder or extract to provide a highly potent source of vitamin C.

What are the benefits of taking an acerola berry supplement?

Taking an acerola berry supplement can help increase your vitamin C and antioxidant intake. Vitamin C supports immune health, collagen production, iron absorption, and brain function. The antioxidants in acerola berries help protect your body's cells from oxidative damage.

How much vitamin C is in acerola berry supplements?

Acerola berry supplements typically provide between 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C per serving since the berries themselves are so naturally high in this nutrient. To put that into context, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is only 75-90 mg.

Are there any side effects from taking acerola supplements?

Acerola berry supplements are considered very safe, especially in amounts providing less than 2,000 mg vitamin C per day. In high doses above 2,000 mg daily, some people may experience mild digestion side effects like diarrhea, nausea, cramping or heartburn.

When should I take acerola berry vitamin C supplements?

For general immune support, acerola vitamin C supplements can be taken daily. The best time to take them is alongside food, as vitamin C absorption is improved when paired with meals. Splitting your dosage into smaller amounts 2-3 times per day can help maximise nutrient absorption as well.

Can I give acerola berry supplements to my kids?

Yes, acerola berry vitamin C supplements can be safely given to children. Pick a children’s formula made specifically with lower vitamin C doses appropriate for kids. Always check with your paediatrician for dosage recommendations based on your child’s age and weight.

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